Sato and Jourdain Jr. Participate in Final Practice Prior to Indy 500 Qualifying; Jourdain Jr. Ran Limited Laps Due to Mechanical Issue

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indi­anapolis 500 – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — “Fast Friday” May 18, 2012



1)         Marco Andretti          227.540 mph / 39.5535          36 laps
17)       Takuma Sato             224.825 mph / 40.0312          43 laps
28)       Michel Jour­dain Jr.   221.396 mph / 40.6511          12 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was not an easy day. Today was all about qual­i­fying prepa­ra­tion, starting to trim the car aero­dy­nam­i­cally and we got extra boost too.  Straight line and corner entry speed was a lot faster than the last five days and we were working on improving both the mechan­ical grip and the reduc­tion of the drag.  There were a few elements that were posi­tive but we have work to do before qual­i­fying tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS: Sato will be in Columbus, Ohio on Monday, May 21 for a media tour with team owner Bobby Rahal… Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qual­i­fying with his 10th fastest qual­i­fying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qual­i­fied 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Tech­nology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechan­ical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoid­able contact” by Hunter-Reay ( Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third.  When he did finally see the check­ered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unap­proved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was not such a good day. On Fast Friday you are excited to work on the qual­i­fying setup and unfor­tu­nately we had a problem early on and we didn’t run many laps so we weren’t really able to work on our qual­i­fying setup. I felt a loss of power and the guys told me to shut it down. I don’t know what they saw in the telemetry but they told me to shut it down. Then I saw smoke so there was a fire. I could defi­nitely feel the differ­ence in power with more boost. It was fun to drive. It was our first run and we were just starting to trim the car.  Tomorrow is qual­i­fying so we don’t know where we are at, set-up wise.  That is what we were going to work on today. It’s a long race though. It’s not the end of the world.”

FAST FACTS: Jour­dain will be in Los Angeles for a media tour on Monday, May 21 and Mexico City on May 22 after qual­i­fying… Jour­dain is competing in his second Indi­anapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is spon­sored by Office Depot Mexico with asso­ciate spon­sor­ship from Rosh­frans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qual­i­fied eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996 – 2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nation­wide Series from 2005 – 2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 

JAY O’CONNELL, Tech­nical Director: “Takuma made several qual­i­fying run simu­la­tions today so he is prepared and ready to go. We have a good idea of what we have set-up wise for qual­i­fying.  Michel also started towards qual­i­fying but unfor­tu­nately had an engine issue so they are busy putting his car back together but it looks like it will be ready to go tomorrow. He is looking forward to a good couple of runs in the morning prac­tice before heading out for qual­i­fying. Even though they split the groups in half, there will still be 16 cars out there and it is diffi­cult to get a clean lap but he just needs to get a feel for his car again; make sure every­thing feels okay — which I’m sure it will be fine – and get himself setup for a good qual­i­fying run. I think Michel is confi­dent that the car will feel good when it’s trimmed out and that he can have a good run.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addi­tion, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139 – 140 and laps 189 – 197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ulti­mately ended under caution when JR Hilde­brand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992 – 1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002 – 2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to prac­tice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jour­dain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  The final day of prac­tice will take place tomorrow.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be tele­vised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00 – 2:30 and 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qual­i­fying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00 – 6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indi­anapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be tele­vised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broad­cast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photog­raphy as well as video. Video will be avail­able specif­i­cally of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jour­dain in Spanish the evening of each prac­tice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: